The Inuvialuit (ɪnˈuviˌaluət) (sing. Inuvialuk; the real people) or Western Canadian Inuit are Inuit people who live in the western Canadian Arctic region. They, like all other Inuit, are descendants of the Thule who migrated eastward from Alaska. Their homeland - the Inuvialuit Settlement Region - covers the Arctic Ocean coastline area from the Alaskan border, east through the Beaufort Sea and beyond the Amundsen Gulf which includes some of the western Canadian Arctic Islands, as well as the inland community of Aklavik and part of the Yukon. The land was demarked in 1984 by the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.
Before the 20th century. the Inuvialuit Settlement Region was primarily inhabited by Siglit Inuit, but in the second half of the 19th century, their numbers were decimated by the introduction of new diseases. Nunatamiut, Alaskan Inuit, moved into traditional Siglit areas in the 1910s and 20s, enticed in part by renewed demand for furs from the Hudson's Bay Company and European markets. The Nunatamiut who settled in the Siglit area became known as Uummarmiut. Originally, there was an intense dislike between the Siglit and the Uummarmiut, but these differences faded over the years, and the two aboriginal peoples intermarried. With improved healthcare and Nunatamiut intermarriage, the Inuvialuit now number approximately 3,100.
The Inuvialuit Settlement Region Traditional Knowledge Report of 2006 identified additional naming characteristics. Those Inuvialuit who live in the west are called Ualinirmiut (Ualiniq) by the people of the east. The Inuvialuit who occupy the east are known as Kivaninmiut (Kivaliniq) by the people of the west.
The Inuit of Ulukhaktok are neither Siglit nor Uummarmiut but are Copper Inuit and refer to themselves as Ulukhaktokmuit after Ulukhaktok, the native name for what used to be called Holman.
The proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline would pass through both Inuvialuit and Gwich'in territory.
The traditional language is known as Inuvialuktun and it is made up of three or four dialects. Uummarmiutun, spoken by the Uummarmiut of Aklavik and Inuvik, is an Inupiatun dialect but is usually associated with Inuvialuktun. Siglitun is spoken by the Siglit of Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk, Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik. Kangiryuarmiutun is used by the Kangiryuarmiut of Ulukhaktok. Kangiryuarmiutun is essentially the same as Inuinnaqtun which is also used in the Nunavut communities of Kugluktuk, Bathurst Inlet and Cambridge Bay. Natsilingmiutut used by the Netsilingmiut of Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Kugaaruk and Repulse Bay in Nunavut. Uummarmiutun, Siglitun and Inuinnaqtun (Kangiryuarmiutun) are all written using Latin script while Natsilingmiutut is written in Inuktitut syllabics.
Year-round, Inuvialuit hunt caribou from the Cape Bathurst and Bluenose herds, and have also shared the Porcupine herd with the Gwich’in. There has been some tension between the Inuvialuit and the Gwich’in over caribou hunting. Other activities are seasonal:
Traditional games include:
|Community||English translation||2006 population||Inuvialuit||First Nations||Métis||Other Aboriginal||non-Aboriginal|
|Aklavik||"barren-ground grizzly place"||594||350||185||10||0||40|
|Inuvik||"place of man"||3,484||1,335||630||160||0||1,260|
|Paulatuk||"place of coal"||294||260||0||0||0||30|
|Sachs Harbour||traditionally called Ikahuak, meaning "where you go across to"||122||105||n/a||n/a||n/a||15|
|Tuktoyaktuk||"resembling a caribou"; formerly known as Port Brabant||870||705||20||10||0||145|
|Ulukhaktok||"a large bluff where we used to collect raw material to make ulus", formerly known as Holman||398||360||10||0||0||30|
The area of the land covered by the Inuvialuit Settlement Region is 521,707.68 km2 (201,432.46 sq mi). Aklavik (Aklavik Indian Band, Ehdiitat Gwich’in Council) and Inuvik (Nihtat Gwich’in Council) are shared with the Gwich’in people who are represented by the Gwich’in Tribal Council.